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Cowboys Pre-Combine Mock Draft Tracker: Defensive Line 8, Offensive Line 2

Another Thursday, another round of mock drafts to look at. And if you want the Cowboys to pick an offensive lineman, this may be the wrong post for you. Then again, everything changes after the Combine anyway.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We've been wondering since early January when a consensus would emerge among the nation's draftniks as to the Cowboys 18th pick. And while we don't have a name to fixate on yet, it looks like a consensus seems to be forming that the Cowboys will pick a defensive lineman in April.

At least that's what today's round-up of the latest, greatest mock drafts suggests. But with the Combine just around the corner, all of that is probably going to change again anyway.

Source Player Update (Bucky Brooks) Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah February 20
Comment: "New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will transition the Cowboys to a 4-3, but he needs a dominant presence in the middle to set the table for the defense. Lotulelei flashes disruptive potential, but defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and Kiffin will need to rev up Lotulelei's motor to get him to thrive in a Cowboys uniform."
Drafttek Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
February 20
Comment: "Ironic ain't it??? Dallas has run the 3-4 since 2005 and has never employed a traditional NT in the alignment; however, new DC Monte Kiffin brings his 4-3 "Tampa-2" defense to the Cowboys and discovers candidates to play the 1-technique DT in either an "Over" alignment (responsible for two A-gaps) or "Under" alignment (responsible for one gap) are limited. So as not to handicap DL Coach Rod Marinelli's efforts, a big body will be necessary to allow Jay Ratliff to play the penetrating 3-technique DT. Johnathan Hankins' unexpected drop is a bonus to Cowboys' fans, as the Big Buckeye has the foot quickness to penetrate (4.0 TFL netting 22.0 yards in 2012) but is at his best anchoring against the run and making the tackle (55.0 in 2012). In this scenario, Jason Hatcher can start his diet to drop 10-15 pounds in order to play the strong-side DE next to Hankins (or will he?. . .see later rounds) with Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware manning the weak side, backed up by a young rotation of Ben Bass, Rob Calloway, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lissemore and Brian Price."
Walter Football Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina February 20
Comment: "The interior of Dallas' offensive line is an abomination. The front office actually found two downgrades at guard last offseason, while center Phil Costa is a sieve. The Cowboys have to find some help for Tony Romo. I'd hate the idea of slotting two guards in the top 20, but Jonathan Cooper is capable of playing all three interior positions. Dallas will love his versatility."
Draft King (Lou Pitney) Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida State February 19
Comment: "The Cowboys are shifting from a 3-4 defense to a "Tampa Two" style 4-3 defense, and one critical element of that is the capacity to force pressure with the front four linemen. Floyd's stock has been on the rise as of late, and he could become a disruptive force on the Cowboys' interior defensive line."
NEPatriotsdraft (Dan Hope) Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida State February 18
Comment: "As the Dallas Cowboys shift to a Tampa-2 defense under new coordinator Monte Kiffin, they should also be looking to move on from troubled, declining defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, and find a defensive tackle who is quicker and more disruptive. That is exactly what they could get from Florida’s Sharrif Floyd. Floyd is quick and explosive but also strong and powerful, making him a potential game-changer as both an interior pass-rusher and run stopper. He may not quite be Warren Sapp, but he would be the interior defensive line difference-maker that the Cowboys lack and need for their new defensive scheme.
Mocking The Draft (Dan Kadar)
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama February 18
Comment: "If there ever was a right tackle suited for the Dallas Cowboys, it's Fluker. He's a powerful run blocker who can drive defenders backward with ease. The Cowboys can benefit from the depth at defensive tackle this year and wait improve the team's new front four."
Big Blue View (Jesse Bartolis) Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU February 18
Comment: "The Cowboys need to upgrade their offensive line, but in this mock four offensive linemen have already come off the board. The Cowboys are also switching to a 4-3 defense and could be looking at adding a more natural 4-3 defensive end to their roster. Right now Anthony Spencer could be a priority to re-sign, but I'm not sure he fits the system and if he leaves they really need another defensive end."
FF Toolbox (Matt De Lima) Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina February 17
Comment: "There were times where Williams looked like the best prospect at the Senior Bowl. Dallas values versatility along the defensive front which would be had in spades by bringing in this talent from UNC."
NFL Draft Soup (Kevin Roberts)
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri February 15
Comment: "Dallas needs safety help badly, but they also need some defensive line help now that they’re moving to a base 4-3 under Monte Kiffin. Richardson can be a top-15 pick, but if he falls here the Cowboys will snatch him up in a heart beat."
Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
February 14
Comment: "Sheldon Richardson of Missouri is an athletic, explosive penetrator with outstanding quickness and excellent range. Richardson profiles as a disruptive three-technique at the next level and would be an ideal complement to Jay Ratliff."

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